When I left the Philippines to embark on my Canada tour on March 4, the World Health Organization has already declared a global health emergency with China having over 8,000 cases of infection from COVID-19 with an outbreak flaring in South Korea, Italy, and Iran. On that same day, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau creates a cabinet committee to deal with the novel corona virus outbreak as the number of confirmed Canadian cases reached 33.
I spent my first 5 days in British Columbia doing shows in Vancouver, Squamish and Abbotsford. The mood was still okay, and I had a wonderful time there. The people were pleasant and eager to support the back to back shows I did with Dey Rose, a singer-songwriter based in Vancouver. Check out my tour video in BC filmed by iCaptured Productions.
Everything seemed fine until I flew to Saskatchewan when Canada recorded its first COVID related death with 116 confirmed cases. Back in the Philippines, there were already over 50 confirmed cases by then. The WHO announcement of a global pandemic on March 11 has taken a toll on my Saskatchewan legs. People were frightened to go out and social distancing and self-isolation were encouraged. Public events with more than 50 people were banned. I was able to complete the tour legs in Watrous, Saskatoon, North Battleford, and Prince Albert but had to cancel all Alberta legs since they have more than 70 confirmed cases. Better safe than sorry.
There was a point during the tour when fear and anxiety crept in. I check myself every day for any signs of symptoms, disinfect my hands and every place I go and touch. Even a mere handshake scares me. Being infected is one thing, but infecting others is something I cannot imagine.
I AM FINE. As I type this, I‘m fortunate not to experience any signs of symptoms. The only discomfort I experience was the violent chill I get every time I step out of the door or out of a car. It was like stepping into an industrial fridge with a fan blowing onto my face. This tour was my first proper winter experience with temperatures ranging from -5 to -28 degrees C. Most places were covered in snow except for busy streets and highways.
With the Canadian borders, schools, and businesses closed and Manila and the rest of Luzon on lockdown, I am extremely concerned about my flight back home. Killing time for a week waiting eagerly for my flight undoubtedly feels like a long time. I dearly miss my family, my friends, my loved ones, my bandmates, and my cats. I pray they are all well and safe from this terrible disease. I humbly pray for those who are ill with the virus, that they may regain their strength and health through quality medical care. Let us give thanks to health heroes who selflessly serve their communities.
To all who expressed their concern for me and offered assistance, I am immensely appreciative. I know the Filipino community here in Canada will take good care of me, if worse comes to worst. For the present, I can only wait and hope to return home healthily, without any incident or delays.
In profound effect, “Brave The Distance”, the title of my promotional tour and single, is more like braving the pandemic.